Our ranking of every League of Legends champion continues with this fourth installment. If you missed them, first read parts one, two and three.
League of Legends has come a long way from the early betas. Champions have seen multiple reworks, items have been added and removed, and entire spells and maps have been changed to accommodate new shifts in the overall strategy of the game, or “meta.”
With a promising preseason patch just out and a number of changes on the way, we thought it would be nice to reflect on the game in the only way possible: ranking it! Through a complicated algorithm based on skills, emergent gameplay opportunities, design, playstyle, uniqueness and how good the author is with them (just kidding—I’m terrible with everyone), we’ve ranked every champion as of the addition of Kindred.
Here’s part four of our rankings of every champion in League of Legends.
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51. Shen: Ok, first off, Shen is a ninja. That's already pretty great, that in a world full of magic and talking bits of Jell-O, ninjas are still doing ninja things. Shen isn't your typical ninja, though, as he wants to get in the middle of the fight and take hits rather than dodge into the shadows. Shen is all about protecting allies, whether it's taunting foes with his dash or teleporting literally across the entire map to guard his teammates. Shen is who you pick when you want someone who can get aggressive and still be defensive, who can provide 24/7 coverage from anywhere on the map, and who isn't afraid to brawl with the toughest of them.
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50. Wukong: You can find an iteration of Wukong in most games of the multiplayer online battle arena variety, but League's might just be my favorite. This tricky monkey knows wuju style, the same art that Master Yi uses, and he uses his martial arts skills to deceive and disrupt opponents. Wukong can make clones of himself to trick enemies, dash around the battlefield and his ultimate spins him in circles, knocking opponents into the air. Playing as Wukong lets you get in the thick of it and then disrupt every careful strategy with trickery and kung-fu, laughing as the enemy team falls to pieces.
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49. Maokai: My thoughts on Maokai have varied for a while, but as a concept, he's a great champion. A walking, talking tree who can throw exploding acorns and root enemies to the ground, Maokai is like Treebeard from Lord of the Rings when he's wrecking Saruman's tower. Maokai loves to just smack things around and soak up damage, as his ultimate helps allies tank hits and returns that damage to sender. He hasn't always been in a good spot balance-wise, but Maokai can do some really interesting and fun things that few other top laners can.
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48. Shaco: Probably one of the more controversial picks on the higher side of the list, Shaco is great because he opens up a lot of opportunities for interesting play. The old strategies of starting at one buff and killing the other as fast as possible, in order to hit a lane with a massive power spike—that's the kind of play that Shaco allows for that no one else does. He's a massive early-game powerhouse, using cloaking, trick jack-in-the-boxes and duplicates of himself to damage and disorient his adversaries. In the hands of a good player, Shaco can dominate throughout the match. He's a little forgotten in the eyes of all but the lowest ELO (where he's part of the must-ban roster), but I'd like to see a Shaco resurgence. There's really no one else in the jungle like him.
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47. Talon: No, that isn't Ezio from Assassin's Creed. Talon is, however, an assassin that uses blades to rend his opponents. He can jump onto foes, slash them with a bleeding dagger and a fan of spinning blades, then disappear in a circle of even more blades before reappearing and heavily damaging his target. Talon is all about eliminating his target as fast as possible, and he's fairly good at it. But seriously, doesn't he look like the posterboy for a new Assassin's Creed?
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46. Viktor: The machinist who hits somewhere between mad scientist and Doc Ock, Viktor is a techno-mage whose mechanical third arm on his back can blast lasers and create silencing, damaging vortexes. He has a unique mechanic in that one of his item slots is locked into holding his core, the power for his tech. In exchange, he can purchase upgrades for his core, increasing the potency of his abilities and adding new effects, like an extra burn on his laser or greater slow on his gravitational field. Right now, it's the closest thing we have to Iron Man in League, so I'll take it.
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45. Draven: Confession time: I'm not personally a fan of Draven. I cannot, however, deny the fact that he's one of the more unique and charismatic marksmen in League's lineup. An executioner and a showman, Draven wields spinning axes that bounce off enemies. To increase his damage and keep the show going, Draven players have to catch the axes as they come back. Draven's also about the applause, as he nets a big gold bonus for big kills. The game isn't quite the League of Draven anymore, but the marksman is one of the more oddball and interesting picks in the bottom lane.
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44. Olaf: If any champion captures the raging berserker, it's Olaf. A viking warrior with axes and a fierce beard, Olaf attacks faster and hits harder the lower health he has, making him a potent one-on-one fighter. He can toss slowing axes and slam enemies for true damage, but the real highlight is Olaf's ultimate: Ragnarok. Once activated, you move faster and cannot be slowed, stunned or really stopped at all. It's the League equivalent of hitting the nitrous and driving a semi right into the opposing team. It's pure chaos, unnecessarily awesome and one of my favorite reasons to play this Norse viking.
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43. Ekko: One of the newer additions to League, Ekko can manipulate time and space to his own advantage. Most of his skills involve quick bursts of time-warping, dashing to a location or exploding timed grenades. His ultimate, however, lets him rewind time and damage all those in the area around his origin. It's a great concept that rewards those who position carefully and think about not just their next move, but the ones beyond and what opportunities they can create with them.
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42. Nautilus: Nautilus is a drowned underwater diver who hits things with a giant anchor. If that hasn't sold you yet, I'm not sure you have a soul. His anchor can latch into the terrain to pull him around, he can slam the ground with his foot to create a riptide effect and launches depth charges at enemies. Nautilus is all about just being really big, really scary and swinging a really big anchor. If you like diving into fights and tossing people around, well, Nautilus will serve that role more than admirably enough.